How to Add Apps To Your Vizio TV

Is Smartcast your only option?

Adding and managing apps on Vizio TVs and Home Theater Displays is done differently depending on the system you have. We'll take a look at each system: SmartCast, Vizio Internet Apps, and Vizio Internet Apps Plus.

Here is the system breakdown by model year:

  • 2018 going forward, all Vizio Smart TVs feature SmartCast.
  • 2016 and 2017 Tunerless Home Theater Displays feature SmartCast.
  • 2016 and 2017 Vizio Smart TVs feature either SmartCast or Vizio Internet Apps+.
  • 2015 and older Vizio Smart TVs feature Vizio Internet Apps or Apps+.

Check the user guide for your specific model for system identification. To use any of Vizio's app platforms, your TV or Home Theater Display needs to be connected to your home network and the internet.

Family on the couch watching YouTube on a large TV
 Lifewire / Miguel Co

How SmartCast Works

The foundation of SmartCast is the Google Chromecast platform in which internet app content can be displayed on a TV by "casting" it from a compatible smartphone or tablet. This means that instead of plugging a Chromecast dongle into the TV, the TV has Chromecast built-in.

In addition to streaming content, the SmartCast smartphone/tablet app goes beyond casting by providing control for all TV functions, including input selection, picture calibration, and sound settings. Also, when you initiate a cast, the TV will automatically switch from the current source input (such as TV channel or any of the HDMI inputs) to the casting source.

When selecting a TV or movie title, SmartCast allows you to see what apps it is available on, instead of having to check each app to find it. SmartCast will also provide recommendations based on your viewing history.

SmartCast Core Apps

Vizio SmartCast TV with Core Apps
Vizio

In addition to casting content from a smartphone or tablet, SmartCast Displays and TVs also include Core Apps that are installed into the Display or TV that can be accessed directly on the screen without casting. You can use the TV's remote control and built-in navigational interface.

Vizio Smartcast TV Core Apps
Bable CBS All Access CBS News Cocoro
ConTV Crackle Curiosity Stream DAZN
Dove Channel Fandango Now FilmRise FitFusion
FlixFling Haystack Hulu iHeart Radio
Love Destination NBC Netflix Newsy
Plex Pluto TV Prime Video (Amazon) Redbox
TasteIT Toon Goggles TV Games Vudu
Watch Free Xumo YouTube YouTubeTV

To make managing the core apps easier, you can use Vizio's Customize App Row feature. This enables you to change the order in which the core apps are displayed on your home screen so that you can group your favorites closer together.

Here is how to use Customize App Row:

  1. Using your remote control, click on the Customize App Row Icon.

    Vizio SmartCast TV – Customize App Row – Move Apps
    Vizio
  2. Select an app and move it using the provided left and right arrow cursors. When done select OK, then Done. If you decide that you don't want to move the app, you can select Cancel.

    Vizio SmartCast TV – Customize App Row – Moving App Example
    Vizio

Adding Apps on a SmartCast TV

With SmartCast, you can also use the SmartCast Mobile App to access an additional preselected group of apps that you can cast to the display or TV.

However, if you want to add apps that are not included in the core list or the preselected mobile apps available for immediate casting, you must add them to your smartphone so you can also cast them to the TV, just as you do when using a Chromecast device.

This means that any apps you add that are not on the Core Apps list and installed on your TV reside on your smartphone and you have to cast it. If you have the same app on your TV and your phone (such as Netflix or YouTube) you have the choice of launching directly from the TV or cast it using the phone.

The app addition process is the same as you perform on a Chromecast device.

  1. Go to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

  2. Select an available Chromecast-enabled app for casting.

  3. Tap on Install.

  4. Once installed, the app is now integrated into your smartphone's cast selection.

  5. To cast an app, open it and tap the Cast Logo (same logo Chromecast uses) on the top of your smartphone screen.

    Cast Logo Example on App

After you initiate a cast and your content starts playing on the SmartCast TV or display, you can perform other tasks on your phone at the same time, without interrupting play, including finding other content to cast, make a phone call, turn the phone off, or even leave the house with your phone.

The casted content will stop playing when the program ends, or when you use your TV remote to perform another function on the TV.

Chromecast-enabled Apps Example
Vizio

Vizio Internet Apps/Apps+

Vizio Internet Apps Plus App Launcher Screen
Vizio

As mentioned in the introduction, instead of SmartCast, many Vizio TVs may have the Vizio/YahooI-based Internet Apps or Apps+ Smart TV platform.

VIA/VIA+ works in a similar fashion as platforms found on most Smart TVs. All of the apps reside in or can be added to the TV, allowing users the ability to manage and add all of your apps directly through the TV using the remote control. However, both screen-mirroring and screencasting of a limited number of apps using compatible smartphones and tablets are also supported.

Adding Apps on a VIA or VIA+ TV

Vizio Internet Apps Plus Remote and Screen
Vizio

Just as with most Smart TVs, with VIA and VIA+ there is a selection of apps already pre-installed, such Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, YouTube, Pandora, and iHeart Radio, but you can add many more apps from the Vizio App Store. On some models, you can also add the Google Play: Movies and TV app.

Here are the steps to add more apps:

  1. Click the "V" button your Vizio TV remote control to get to the apps home menu.

  2. Click on one of the options on the top the screen that takes you to the App Store options (Featured, Latest, All Apps, or Categories).

  3. Next, highlight the app(s) you want to add that is not already on your list.

  4. For TVs that have VIA, press OK and scroll to "Install App". After the app installs it will be added to your viewing selection.

  5. For TVs that have VIA+, press and hold OK until the app has been added to the My Apps list.

    Installed apps display a colored star in the top-right hand corner of the app icon.

  6. To select and play content from an installed app, click on its associated icon using the TV's remote control.

If you desire to delete a streaming service from your My Apps list:

  1. Highlight the icon for the specific app you want to delete. A submenu will appear that includes a delete option.

  2. Click OK next to the delete option and the app will be removed.

If you choose to reinstall the deleted app at a later time, it is still available through the app store using the previous add app procedure.